- Sean Jensen at the Chicago Sun-Times thinks it might be best for the Bears if offensive coordinator Mike Tice didn’t get the Raiders head coaching job:
“Despite what he said immediately after the season, Smith probably wouldn’t be too shattered if the rumors that have Packers assistant Winston Moss as the favorite to land the Raiders job are true.”
- Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune thinks the Bears have a big need at cornerback:
“So, the team needs to add at least two cornerbacks to the mix and probably three. If they can upgrade over what Jennings has given them the last two seasons, that would be a plus, especially when they run into the Green Bay Packers twice next season.”
- As usual, I’m disappointed that the Bears sank to the level of their opponents by refusing to let assistant Jon Hoke interview for Vikings’ defensive coordinator job. Via Biggs.
- Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune profiles GM candidate Jason Licht:
“Former NFL scout Dave Razzano recently ranked his top general manager candidates in The Razz Report, and he listed Licht as No. 7.
“Wrote Razzano, ‘Both organized and thorough in his approach, the personable Licht has worked under some of the league’s more prominent names like Jimmy Johnson, Andy Reid and now Belichick, where he plays a big part in keeping the Pats on top of the AFC standings. Licht has played a strong role with three different teams now and will likely find himself on several GM short lists in the near future. His eye for talent and overall personnel skills are why Bill Belichick brought him back to New England after a short stint with the Arizona Cardinals.’”
- Jensen sees Phil Emery as the favorite for the job.
- Pompei agrees that no one would be surprised if Emery got the job:
“Here’s how former Tribune In the Wake of the News sports columnist Michael Holley described Emery in his book War Room:
“’He worked at the Naval Academy for seven years, so he’s not a career military man, although he does sound like one: His voice is clear and commanding. … He’s got an iPad in front of him with his notes as well as reports from the scouts. His recall is impressive. … You get the feeling the iPad isn’t always necessary due to his ability to give historical playbacks from memory.’”
“If the Bears hire Emery, he will have to be a good learner too. He doesn’t have much experience with the salary cap and contracts, pro personnel or sitting in an office.
“’That was the knock on Thomas Dimitroff, Jerry Reese, Ted Thompson, Trent Baalke and a number of guys who have become successful general managers,’ Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli said. ‘He runs the scouting staff, and that is quite a responsibility.’”
- ESPN’s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert on the Matt Forte contract situation:
“But if the Bears franchise him not for the purpose of negotiations, but instead as their final decision on how to compensate him in 2012, there could be trouble.
“Forte [told ESPN Radio 1000]: “A lot of teams franchise guys so that they can get a deal done or negotiate a deal. It just depends on what the motive of that is.
“The franchise tag for running backs this offseason is expected to be a little less than $8 million. If it seems clear the Bears plan to pay him that salary, with no credible offer for an extension beyond the 2012 season, Forte implied he might not be in training camp on time.
“’I wouldn’t say holdout,’ he said, ‘but people probably wouldn’t know where I was.’”
- Many people associated with the Kansas City Chiefs, including former head coach Todd Haley, thought Pioli had the team head quarters bugged. From a very interesting article by Kent Babb at the Kansas City Star.
- Think the Bears are taking too much time to hire a general manager? You’ll want to see what Mike Silver at Yahoo sports has to say about the Raiders’ “search”. Apparently you’re not doing it right no matter how you handle it.
- Omar Kelly at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin is the choice for head coach in Miami. Philbin Is an interesting choice. The Dolphins are looking for a proficient pass-oriented offense like the Packers. But one wonders how much head coach Mike McCarthy had to do with designing that offense and getting it to run. Philbin’s background is with the offensive line. That’s usually not the kind of person a big time passing offense comes from.
- McCarthy might be a Packer but his comments to the Associated Press indicate that he most certainly is not dumb. Much has been said about Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers not being quite as sharp as usual throwing to receivers who were dropping balls all over the field last weekend in their loss to the Giants. But McCarthy put his finger right on one of the major problems that went largely unappreciated:
“‘The tackling just was not there all year,’ McCarthy said in press conference to end the season, via the Associated Press. ‘Without getting into the specific statistics, we did not tackle well enough as a football team, from start to finish. It’s something that’s emphasized every single day in practice and something that [defensive coordinator] Dom [Capers] and I talked a lot about today.’”
- Its a good thing for the Packers that McCarthy is smart. Because its doubtful Philbin will be his only loss from the coaching staff. From Seifert:
“Success has its challenges, and one is replacing the inevitable brain drain that occurs as opponents try to replicate. This month, the Packers have lost a top front office talent in [Reggie] McKenzie and one of their top coaches in Philbin. The pressure is on the Packers to continue to develop qualified successors.”
- Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com claims that tampering season has already begun.
- Looks like the NFL is trying to make the St. Louis Rams the official London football team. From Biggs, this time at The National Football Post.
- Baltimore running back Ricky Williams has played the Patriots a lot over the years and he has a very specific suggestion for his team mates:
“‘If you hit them in the mouth and you stand up to them, that’s the way you play it,’ Williams told the Baltimore Sun. ‘I think when you’re as good as they are, you get used to people kind of being intimidated. And I think when you show them that you’re not, it automatically makes them have to change the way they’re used to playing, and that automatically gives us an advantage.’”
- Pompei writes about how some of the local prospects did during East-West Shrine Game practices.
- Some people aren’t taking the results of the NFL playoffs this year very well.
One Final Thought
Biggs also reviews the Bears tight end position:
“As the Patriots other tight end Rob Gronkowski was tying an NFL playoff record with three touchdown receptions Saturday night in a 45-10 demolition of the Denver Broncos, former Chicago Bears tight end Greg Olsen reacted on Twitter. He pointed out the Bears had a tight end making plays for them in the postseason a year ago.
“He’s right. Olsen caught three passes for 113 yards with a 58-yard touchdown in the 35-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round. It was his second-to-last game in a Bears uniform as he was traded to the Carolina Panthers on the eve of training camp.”
“Trading Olsen didn’t help the Bears’ passing attack in 2011 but the moves made did augment the running game. It’s time to find a way for the tight ends to start helping the quarterback by doing more than chip blocking from time to time.”
If Greg Olsen wants to invite comparisons to the New England tight ends, he’s making a serious mistake. Teams are showing once again that the tight end can be a great weapon in the passing game. But you need more than Olsen, a glorified wide receiver who can be covered by a nickel back. I doubt the Bears regret a thing.